JOHANNESBURG - Temba Bavuma will be moving back home next summer after signing up to represent the Cape Cobras in domestic franchise competitions.
Bavuma has been with the Highveld Lions for all of his professional career, making his first class debut for Gauteng in 2008.
The Sunday Independent understands that Bavuma wants a change of scenery and a different challenge.
He grew up in Langa and went to primary school at SACS in Newlands before his father Vuyo moved to Joburg.
Bavuma subsequently went to high school at St David’s College in Inanda.
Bavuma made his franchise debut in 2010/11 and by the following season had established himself as an important cog in the Lions’ middle order.
He averaged 69.37, scored 555 runs, including two centuries and six half-centuries, in 11 innings when the Lions won the Sunfoil Series in 2014/15.
Although he is very much part of the establishment in Gauteng cricket circles and has proudly represented Soweto Cricket Club on the local club circuit, his ties in the Western Cape are very strong, too.
In the wake of his historic Test century against England at Newlands at the start of 2016, Bavuma spoke passionately about his pride in representing Langa, recalling seeing the number of kids involved in a mini-cricket exhibition during lunch on one of the days of that Test and how many of those kids knew his name.
His picture still proudly adorns the walls of the clubhouse at Langa Cricket Club and there’s no doubt his work in development initiatives, which recently included his foundation helping to restore practice nets at Hoernle Primary School in Rockville, Soweto, will continue in the area where he was born.
The soon to be 27-year-old has played 20 Tests for South Africa and while his statistics for the 2016/17 season don’t make for great reading, he contributed significantly to the Proteas’ series wins in Australia and New Zealand, making timely contributions when the side were in trouble.
He also scored a century on his one-day international debut against Ireland in Benoni, which remains his only ODI to date.
Bavuma is unlikely to play much of a role for the Cobras next season given the Proteas’ heavy schedule, which starts with two Tests against Bangladesh in September and could include four Tests against India and then four against Australia in February 2018.
He’ll more than likely be available for the domestic franchise T20 Challenge, which will draw the curtain on the season next March.
The Lions are set to sign Omphile Ramela, who they had on loan for a few matches during the T20 Challenge last year.